Date: April 30, 2021
Contact: Frank Zeoli, Deputy Commissioner
Link to video of event
ALBANY, NY – Today, Mayor Kathy Sheehan was joined by the Commissioner of the Department of General Services and representatives from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Davey Resource Group, and local elected officials to commemorate Arbor Day by planting three trees at Colby Park in Albany.
“Each year on Arbor Day, we renew our commitment to the planet and to making our neighborhoods more beautiful by planting trees on Arbor Day,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “This Arbor Day we are also recognizing our commitment as a City to plant 2,025 trees by the year 2025 to ensure that our urban forest continues to thrive for generations to come. I want to thank Commissioner Panunzio, Deputy Commissioner Zeoli, and our partners at DEC and Davey Resource Group for helping us to obtain the resources we need to continue to keep healthy trees growing in Albany.”
In September of 2020, the Department of General Services announced a new planting initiative that set a goal of planting 2,025 trees across Albany by the year 2025. The program has given residents the opportunity to adopt a tree in front of their home, sponsor a tree in the city or give to a designated fund to be used to underwrite the cost of planting and maintaining a tree.
Over the past several months DGS has received numerous donations to the 2025 Tree Fund and seen an uptick in tree adoptions. From 2019 to 2021, the Spring Street Tree Planting Program saw a 35% increase in participation. (Note: Due to COVID 19 no trees were planted in the spring of 2020 as part of the adopt-a-tree program.)
The Department of General Services has identified 244 locations in the city that are suitable for the planting of street trees. The majority of these locations are in front of residential properties. The Department of General Services plans to engage with the property owners to ensure the resident wants the tree and that they are willing to maintaining it. Additionally, DGS estimate about 300 trees will be planted as part of the Engineering Street and Sidewalk Reconstruction Projects. The City of Albany anticipates spring planting to begin by the end of May and trees will be planted in every city neighborhood including: the South End, Downtown, Delaware/Second Avenues, Arbor Hill, West Hill, Pine Hills and Upper Washington Avenue.
“I am proud to be able to announce we are taking the necessary steps to properly maintain and re-populate our urban forest. It is my hope that, as we move forward, we are able to ensure that our residents will always be able to enjoy the benefits that trees provide in their everyday lives.” Said Commissioner Sergio Panunzio
In 2021 the City of Albany received a $75,000 grant from NYSDEC to perform a tree inventory. The inventory will not only survey all street trees in the city but will also give us the health status of each tree. The information gained from this inventory will help the Department of General Services with a maintenance and removal schedule for the future. Earlier this year DGS put an RFP out to select a firm to assist with this effort and Davey Resource Group was chosen to do the inventory.
“New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund provides critical support to projects like the city of Albany’s tree planting effort that both protects the environment and serves to strengthen community and urban forestry programs,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “As we celebrate National Arbor Day and recognize the many benefits of trees, DEC is proud to support the city’s ongoing effort and award Albany this tree inventory and management plan grant. This funding will help the city assess and inventory street trees and efficiently prioritize maintenance and planting needs. The city’s important work will also guide a plan to care for the existing canopy so these trees last longer and continue to benefit the community.”
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, "Thank you to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, the Department of General Services, and everyone else involved for their commitment to the 2025 Tree Initiative and for recognizing how important trees are for the health and aesthetic of our communities. Arbor Day is a day to celebrate trees and it should not be forgotten that there is a tremendous amount of effort and care necessary to support their growth and development. I appreciate all of the work undertaken by these partners and the residents to cultivate a healthy and vibrant community for all of us.